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Andrei Iacob / Essential Silverlight
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Essential Silverlight

I think this is the first book on Silverlight that’s ever been published. And I think, the least popularized in blogposts or communities.

It’s a short book, at about 200 pages, and It’s a gentle introduction to Silverlight 1.0 (with a chapter about 1.1). The chapters are simple and short, but they provide a “Further reading section” that’s well documented (It’s “Essential” not “Professional” or “Inside”).

It starts with a short intro about WPF, then It goes into the IDE’s (especially Blend 2), continuing with XAML (with all things WPF like vector, animation and multimedia) and then JavaScript. The good thing is, that there is chapter about some advanced JavaScript techniques (like XMLHttpRequest) and after that It dives into AJAX and ASP.NET integration. So, from a pedagogical point of view, It’s very well structured (kind of like my Silverlight presentations.. just kidding). Also, you can learn a lot about how the plug-in works and how you can communicate with it, “diagnose” it and integrate it. The final chapter is a preview of Silverlight 1.1, but a very very thin one. Only hasn’t heard anything about 1.1 can learn something from that.

The book is full of how-to’s, and some very useful ones. It’s true, you can find some of them on the web using a search engine and landing on a forum (especially because there has been a lot of talking about this technology lately), but it doesn’t compare with the explanations here.

Also, the book can be a lightweight introduction to WPF for developers as well as for programmers. You can start with Silverlight 1.0 and end up programming in .NET Framework 3.0 (like I started with Silverlight 1.1 and IronPython and ended up learning and liking Python).

The book was a great 2 day read, but I’m still waiting for a “3 pounder” that’s more advanced. Especially on Silverlight 1.1, because that’s where all the fun is. But on the other hand, 200 pages can make you a small expert in a very young and popular technology.

You can see the author’s announcement here.

You can buy it (the PDF) from O’Reilly and you can also download the sample code from the book.

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